Wednesday, February 26, 2014


By Blitzo

In the past week, a rush of new information and photos have come to light concerning the PLA's OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon), dubbed ZH-05. Speculation is rife that the weapon is due to be officially declassified and/or reveal an in service status.

Caption: You know a weapon is set for public knowledge when it's at the forefront of a stage commemorating the PLAMC.

Indeed, previous rumours of Aden deployed PLAMC being armed with ZH-05 appear to be substantiated in this latest round of "leaks".

An OICW typically seeks to mate an assault rifle with an intelligent grenade launcher in a complete package, with a computerised fire control system to allow the small calibre grenade to burst at a predetermined distance for maximum lethality. However, current and previous OICWs such as the US XM-29 or Korean K11 are hindered by heavy weight and cumbersome volume, and indeed, only the Korean K11 is currently in service and represents the only OICW fully developed.

This changes with the ZH-05, which not only features a sleek, assault rifle-like profile, but is also remarkably light, at only 4.27kg unloaded and 5kg fully loaded (compared to the K11's 6.1kg unloaded). ZH-05 achieves its low weight through an innovative way of integrating only the laser range finder and fire control system with the gun itself, while keeping the optics modular and interchangable -- which not only lightens the weapon dramatically but also confers greater flexibility for the soldier who may wish to change between different scopes.

Caption: An early picture of the ZH-05, possibly at an arms exhibit, which surprised everyone both by depicting important specs, but also by the ridiculously low total weight of 5kg, which weighs less than the K11 unloaded, and only a little more than a loaded battle rifle!

Caption: A leaked picture displaying the laser range finder and fire control system integrated with the gun. Note the optics, which is separable from the gun

But an even more ingenious -- and pragmatic -- means of reducing weapon weight was through eliminating the semi automatic grenade launcher and magazine for a single shot bolt action mechanism. While at first glance this may appear a disadvantage compared with other OICWs, it has been suggested the deletion of the magazine was directed by the PLA itself after initial trials with prototypes with five round magazines. This not only significantly reduced weight, but also allowed users to fire different types of grenades with greater ease.

The use of different grenade types is significant, as the lethality of a 20mm round is greatly reduced with the complicated electronics to allow a single grenade to perform multiple functions from airburst, to impact detonation, whereas separating individual grenades for airburst, impact, redues the circuitry in each individual grenade, improving overall power.

Hongjian provides a succint summary of the ZH-05's 20mm development:

"1. The first variant had a 5 round magazine, but the PLA requested the single-shot, manually loaded bolt-action system not only because it would be easier to change munition-type, but it also would enable the designers to design single-purpose 20mm grenades. Compared to the XM-25, XM-29 and K-11's multi-purpose grenades, each individual chinese 20mm airburst grenade has only the airburst mode, the impact explosion grenade has only the impact explosion mode and so on, which increases the explosive load of those grenades as they reduce the room needed for complex electronics. To compare, the XM1018 20mm grenade has both impact and airburst modes, which consumes rougthly 60% of the grenade's volume for electronics, battery, sensors, limiting the the size of the warhead and reducing its destructive power.
The PLA has hence very high confidence in the wounding effects of their single-purpose 20mm airburst grenades during urban battle, as it apparently performed better in tests than even hand-grenades and approaching that of infantry mortars (as in higher killing co-efficiency; note that chart below).

2. Due to the single-shot, manually loaded bolt-action system, the soldier can very easily chamber the individual grenade type required for the specific tactical situation at hand, without having to play around too much with the electronic-fuse settings. This increases the reliability of the grenades and reduces the weight of the weapon overall due to simpler electronics.

3. There are three kinds of grenades for the grenade launcher: The conventional impact grenade, the airburst grenade, and, what is called as the 'secret weapon'; the 'shotgun'-grenade. Latter is described as a grenade which will explode into a barrage of shrapnels to the forward direction at a customized range as set by the user. One can think of a small AHEAD (Advanced Hit Efficiency And Destruction) round to imagine its underlying principle.
According to the users during field tests, this grenade is devastating in combat and has a high suppression value in close urban battle.
With these three grenade rounds available for this system, it gained its "three-in-one-launcher" nickname by the PLA.

4. TOE wise, the standard PLA squad is already divided into two fireteams. Traditionally, it is the RPG fireteam and the Machinegun fireteam. Now, each fireteam will receive one ZH-05, with two in total per infantry squad, raising the unit's overall combat efficiency dramatically."

Caption: CAD image of the 20mm grenade launcher component with a preliminary magazine design, later removed

Caption: Lethality rating of the 20mm airburst grenade compared with various other weapons. It can be seen that the 20mm airburst has greater killing co efficiency than a standard grenade, and approaches that of an infantry mortar!

And some specs of the ZH-05's 20mm grenade, again translated by Hongjian:
"20mm caliber
1.2 grams of propellant
85 grams
119MPa chamber pressure
219m/s muzzle velocity
800m range and 29.46 meters vertical
reaching the distance of 800m in 4.446 seconds with an arc of 7.02 degrees
7.7 meters killing radius"

Pictures depict ZH-05 armed soldiers with a new kit of body armour and a helmet mounted eyepiece display suggest this is part of a greater drive for PLA modernization. The eyepiece is thought to be connected to the weapon via a cable, and possibly projects an image of the weapon's scope for the soldier.

Certainly the PLA have experimented with such a function on existing rifles for many years.

Caption: the good old days

Caption: An early ZH-05 prototype, with an angled forward grip

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Photo of the day: J-10B production-variants 104

Thus far, J-10B's production rate is far from impressive -- 4 copies in three months.

Friday, December 13, 2013

J-10B production-variants 101 and 103

The first J-10B prototype has been undergoing various test flights since Dec 2008 at Chengdu.  If serial numbers101 and 103 are indeed production-variants, the first J-10B line regiment should be forming soon.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Photos of the day: J-20 prototype 2011

Stealth jet 'set for maiden flight'
Updated: 2014-02-20 02:40
By Zhao Lei (China Daily)
Photos of advanced prototype posted amid speculation over imminent test

China is said to be planning the maiden flight soon of the upgraded version of the J-20 stealth fighter.

A number of photos recently taken by aviation enthusiasts at an unidentified base, and widely circulated on websites that follow the Chinese military, show a prototype of the twin-engine, fifth-generation aircraft with the serial code "2011" painted on both sides of the cockpit.

Active members on and, the two most-visited sites that cover the Chinese military, said the first test flight of the prototype aircraft is imminent.

The flight is expected to take place in Chengdu, where the aircraft's developer, Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, is headquartered.

An employee of the Aviation Industry Corp of China, parent company of the Chengdu industry group, speaking on Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said that he could neither confirm nor deny the rumors.

Recent media reports about China's military hardware testing have confirmed many of the rumors published by Chinese military enthusiasts. Many of the followers claim to have a great deal of knowledge about weapons, and sources with defense contractors.

The newest J-20 is the stealth fighter's third prototype since the aircraft's debut three years ago.

In January 2011, the J-20's first prototype made its maiden flight at an unidentified airfield in Chengdu. The 15- minute flight made China the third nation in the world to "develop and test-fly a full-size stealth combat aircraft prototype", after the United States and Russia, according to Western media outlets.

China launched its stealth fighter programs in the late 1990s. It is also developing a single-engine, radar-evading fifth-generation jet fighter called the J-31. That aircraft has undergone several test flights.

China reportedly conducted test flights of a second J-20 prototype in Chengdu in May 2012. Pictures of a J-20 prototype firing from its side weapons bays surfaced in March 2013. It's unclear which prototype was tested in March.

Chinese aviation enthusiasts said a series of improvements have been made to the stealth fighter. It reportedly has a new air intake design, shorter engine nozzles and a sensor technology that helps pilots detect and track enemy aircraft or missiles in every direction simultaneously.

An upcoming test would indicate that its engineers and designers have made remarkable strides to finalize the J-20 project, said Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief at Aerospace Knowledge magazine.

"Most of the changes made to the third prototype seem to be about its aerodynamics," he said. "I think the upgraded version will have better avionics, stealth capability and stronger survivability in combat."

But Wang emphasized that it is too early to tell if the aircraft's design has been finalized, pointing out that the United States spent many years on its jet fighters and adopted numerous changes.

"China only has a short history of developing advanced aircraft. There is still a long road for us before our aircraft can compete with others," he said.

Frank Kendall, the US under-secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, recently told The Wall Street Journal that US defense officials "expect the Chinese to have export versions of the equipment that they have built".

Kendall said China is expected to put the J-20 into active military service in the next few years and added it could export the aircraft to other nations.

Google translator fail of the day: amphibious chariots

I believe the correct English word for "amphibious chariots" is "amphibious AFVs"

New-type inflatable landing boat to be deployed
(People's Daily Online)    15:39, February 19, 2014

The landing equipment of our navy, including dock landing ships, inflatable landing boats and amphibious chariots, is gradually providing a new three-dimensional multiple platform. The Navy Equipment Department has announced that the Chinese navy will set up a multi-platform landing equipment system this year.

China's naval forces have already made several breakthroughs in multi-platform landing equipment. Dock landing ships, inflatable landing boats and other new equipment will be progressively deployed. Success in the research and development of large landing ships has filled a gap in this field.

According to the report, a new-type inflatable landing boat which has previously been tested together with the naval escort formation will be deployed. This boat can adapt well to the demands of battle. In addition, the navy will try to enhance the overall information technology level of the landing equipment system, and further promote the information exchange and accurate attack capacity of landing equipment.

(Editor:YanMeng、Gao Yinan)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Regular PLAN deployment to the Mediterranean?

Chinese frigate ‘Huangshan’ departs for Mediterranean Sea

(Source: China Military Online)   2014-02-18

The picture shows that the guided missile frigate “Huangshan” of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) is ready for departure. ( Jianhong and Shao Longfei)

  ZHANJIANG, February 18 (ChinaMil) -- A taskforce of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN), which will take over the guided missile frigate “Yancheng” to implement the naval escort missions for the ships transporting Syria’s chemical weapons, departed a military port in Zhanjiang of south China’s Guangdong province at 16:00 on February 17, 2014 for the Mediterranean Sea.

  Leaders including Wei Xueyi, chief of staff of the South China Sea Fleet of the PLAN, and Li Yang, deputy director of the Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, were at the pier to see off the taskforce.

  This is the first time for the South China Sea Fleet to dispatch its surface warship to implement the naval escort missions for the ships transporting Syria’s chemical weapons.

  The taskforce consists of the guided missile frigate “Huangshan”, a shipboard helicopter and a total of over 200 personnel including some special operation members from a destroyer flotilla under the South China Sea Fleet of the PLAN.

  The guided missile frigate “Huangshan”, a new-type guided missile frigate independently developed and made by China, once implemented the second and thirteenth naval escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast, according to sources.

  Since January 7, 2014, the guided missile frigate “Yancheng” has successfully fulfilled three naval escort missions for the ships transporting Syria’s chemical weapons, making positive contributions to safeguarding world peace and security and winning comprehensive praises from international community.

Editor:Zhang Tao

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chinese warship fulfills third mission of escorting Syria’s chemical weapons shipping

Chinese warship fulfills third mission of escorting Syria’s chemical weapons shipping

(Source: China Military Online)   2014-02-12

The picture shows the guided-missile frigate “Yancheng” of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) is escorting a Norwegian merchant ship carrying chemical weapons. ( Zhang Yifu)

  DAMASCUS, February 12 (ChinaMil) -- The officers and men of the guided missile frigate “Yancheng” of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN), who just received greetings from Chinese President Xi Jinping the other day, successfully accomplished the third mission of escorting the ships carrying Syria’s chemical weapons together with warships from Russia, Denmark, Norway and other countries at 16:47, local time.

  The guided missile frigate “Yancheng” sailed into the territorial waters of Syria around 10:00, local time, to form a taskforce with the Russian guided missile cruiser “Peter the Great” and perform patrol surveillance in the designated waters.

  An hour later, the Norwegian transport ship sailed into the Latakia port to load the chemical weapons while the liaison officers on both Chinese side and the Russian side maintained communication all the time to notify to each other about related situations.

  Through the joint escort of the warships from China, Russia, Denmark and Norway, the Norwegian transport ship loaded with chemical weapons safely left Syria’s territorial waters. The guided missile frigate “Yancheng” successfully fulfilled its third mission of escorting the shipping of Syria’s chemical weapons.

  Jin Xupu, chief of staff of the Chinese escort taskforce, told reporters: “Thanks to the previous joint escort cooperation, the good communication kept among all parties while more coordinated efforts and deeper understanding about the mission also contribute to the accumulation of valuable experience and the solid foundation laid down for the follow-up escort missions.”

Editor:Guo Renjie

Poor bloody PLA infantry of the day: electric heated winter gear

3000 sets of electric heated uniforms were recently issued to troops in the Tibet Military Region.  Its 3-4 hours of power reserve should help those poor base sentries  to cope better through those infamous cold Tibetan nights. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Communist propaganda of the day: Coming to a theater near you, Liaoning the movie.

Yes, they are making a Chinese Top Gun like documentary based on the Liaoning and here are some screen shots.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Communist propaganda of the day: China Dream

There are some in Canada proclaim that the Liaonight fails to make a splash.  I think they missed the point here:  Judging by its propaganda value, it is already paying handsome dividends at home.